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Manufacturing consent: mediated sporting spectacle and the cultural politics of the ‘War on Terror’

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Within the voluminous range of popular and academic commentaries interrogating the cultural politics of ‘post 9/11 America’, observations on the role of the US corporate media in echoing, and indeed amplifying, political doctrines following the non-stateterror attacks of September 11, 2001 are prominent. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, key themes of media discourse included public mobilization through jingoistic icons and ‘war’ rhetoric; the vilification of culprits; omissions of reference to alternative culpable agents; exceptional support for President Bush and the political administration; neglect or manipulation of history to eliminate information that might undermine support for the ‘War on Terror’; the uncritical acceptance of ‘official’ interpretations; and, strategies of censorship and intimidation of media dissenters (Boyd-Barrett 2003). Crucially, the partisan role of the media in expressing outrage and preparing the public for retribution was veiled in the rhetoric of impartiality. For Boyd-Barrett (2003) the media role was one of ‘foreclosing doubt’ concerning understandings and explanations of events. These constructions within agenda-establishing corporate media were, and continue to be, significant in the framing of responses to the horrific terror acts.
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Keywords: censorship; corporate media agendas; manipulation; media dissenters; official interpretations; rhetoric of impartiality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Otago 2: Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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